While fruits are Africa’s wealth, only a few industrial facilities transform them. In Lesotho, Lipuo Lydia Nkholi has launched Limomonane products, a company that produces local fruit-based goods with the added benefit of being 100% natural and healthy.
“I was born and raised in Lesotho. In my country, as in others in Africa, we are surrounded by fruits. Yet we do not generate any profit from it.” Determined to make a difference, Lipuo Lydia Nkholi, 33, created Limomonane products, a food company that produces 100% natural local products such as marmalade. “It doesn’t make much sense,” the young woman says with a smile. I studied governance. I have a master’s degree in public administration. And today, I make fruit products!” Not so ludicrous, actually.
Graduate of the Institute of Development and Management in 2017, Lydia worked for some time for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) before devoting herself to Limomonane.
“It’s still quite new,” she admits. I only started the company last May, but today I am working full time. My reasoning is twofold: as an African woman, I feel concerned. Producing local products from fruits is a major challenge. Then, as an individual, I take great care of my health.
“The solutions are there, right before our eyes!” At home, they translate into drinks and marmalade, 100% natural and local. “We process and preserve the fruit. We buy disease-free fruits – grown in cold weather – from local farmers, as opposed to imported lower quality fruits that sometimes deteriorate due to long distances. Our current product line features plum jam, peach jam, lemon and ginger marmalade, orange marmalade and canned peaches. We are diversifying our options, combining ginger and lemonade for example, which is very healthy. If these in-house products are already distributed locally, the challenge is to get them across borders. “We now work with five local supermarkets. The next step is international exports.”
A challenge specific to all women entrepreneurs on the continent that led Lydia to participate in the second Women In Africa (WIA) Initiative World Summit as a laureate of Program 54: “I have met many exceptional women. I learned a lot from them, and from the other participants, speakers… Men too. It is interesting to see them getting involved in women’s entrepreneurship. I hope to put all this into practice as soon as I get back. I also wish for this initiative, which is just beginning, to continue and allow us to stay participants to stay in touch, to interact with each other.”